The Lost Fens

Heritage Lottery FundA couple of weeks ago saw the launch of a remarkable new book about the history of the Fens.

Ian Rotherham, the author of ‘The Lost Fens’ is a writer, broadcaster and Professor of environmental geography and reader in tourism and environmental change at Sheffield Hallam University.

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The Lost fens, by Ian Rotherham. Source: http://www.environmentalhistories.net/?p=697
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Ian Rotherham

The Lost Fens is about the history of the cultural landscape of the Fen area. It tells the story of the most dramatic ecological destruction in our history. Around 8,000 sq km of wetland present in the 1600s was almost entirely obliterated by 1900. The book draws together the story of a lost ecology, of changing landscapes, lost people, lost cultures and ways of life, and lost wildlife.

The story of these lost Fens is, in Rotherham’s words “the greatest single ecological catastrophe that ever occurred in England”.

Indeed, so thoroughly has the process been undertaken, that most visitors to, and even many residents in, the Fens have little knowledge of what the landscape used to be like.

The image of the Fens today is dominated by the vast expansive flatlands of intensive farming, a starkly different picture than the former landscape this book depicts.

A good review of the book can be found here: review in The Independent. See also this newspaper article in the Yorkshire Post about the author and his latest book.

Some sample pages can also be read at Amazon.

If you are interested to learn more about the Fens and the changes in its landscape, below is a selection of similar books. Let me know if you know of any other books that are worth a read! Thanks.
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This entry was posted in Biodiversity, History, Landscape Character, Theme 1-Water Everywhere, Theme 5-Future Heritage, Wetlands and tagged , , , , , , by markatousewasheslps. Bookmark the permalink.

About markatousewasheslps

I am currently coordinating a partnership-led bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (for a circa £600K Heritage Grant bid) focusing on strengthening the unique yet vulnerable natural heritage in the Cambridgeshire Fens surrounding the Old west River, the new 'New Life on the Old West' project. Until recently I was the Programme Manager for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme, leading on the 1-year development and 3-year delivery phases of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant-aided Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme (from Dec 2012 until March 2017), on behalf of and in close cooperation with a wide range of local, regional and national partner organisations. The Ouse Washes LP's portfolio of 51 projects have focused on: conservation works to historic and natural environmental assets; improving community participation & engagement with the landscape and its heritage; increasing access and learning opportunities; and providing more opportunities for training in traditional land management skills. The overall aim has been to leave a long-term legacy for this fascinating and unique landscape, in the process creating tangible improvements to social, economic and environmental aspects of this landscape, its heritage and communities.